The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported an additional 196 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, along with three deaths as a result of the virus.

A total of 13,957 cases now have been confirmed in the county, with 1,136 cases still considered active and contagious. 

One of the deaths reported Wednesday was a death that occurred months ago in connection to the massive COVID-19 outbreak at the Federal Penitentiary in Lompoc. While the death occurred in the summer, it was not reported until now due to delays in confirming the cause of death, according to county public health data

"The death reported today from the Federal Prison in Lompoc is not associated with a current outbreak at the correctional institution. The delay is a result of the death reporting process requiring coroner verification," the county COVID-19 dashboard states.

This is the fourth inmate to have died in connection with the prison outbreak. 

The deaths of two community members also were confirmed Wednesday, one of whom was a resident of Goleta and the other a resident of Santa Maria. 

Between the three individuals who died, two were over the age of 70 and one was between the ages of 18 and 29. The latter is the county's second reported death in this age range. All three individuals also had underlying health conditions.

A total of 145 COVID-19 deaths now have been reported in the county, with six confirmed just in the past week, according to county data.

COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by 14% within the last 24 hours, with the number of hospitalized individuals now matching the peak of 89 in August. This includes 21 individuals currently in the ICU. 

In the city of Santa Maria, 365 out of 5,376 total cases remain active. Seventy-seven individuals have died.

In the community of Orcutt, 60 out of 663 total cases remain active. Eight individuals have died. 

In the city of Lompoc, 140 out of 1,489 total cases remain active. Ten individuals have died.

In the Santa Ynez Valley, which includes the areas of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, 26 out of 313 total cases remain active. Seven individuals have died.

In the unincorporated North County area, which includes Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, 42 out of 593 total cases remain active. Seven individuals have died. 

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department confirmed an additional 195 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, along with two additional deaths as a result of the illness.

San Luis Obispo County now has passed the 8,000-case mark with 8,090 total cases in the county, including 1,523 cases that are still active and contagious.

The two COVID-19 deaths confirmed Wednesday included one individual in their 60s and another in their 70s, both of whom had underlying health conditions, according to public health spokeswoman Michelle Shoresman. 

Fifty-four COVID-19 deaths have now been reported in the county, with 12 deaths, or 22%, reported in the past week alone. 

"We've had another six deaths in the last 24 hours that are not yet in that overall number because we are waiting for finalization. That is unfortunately the pace of death that we are seeing," County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said Wednesday.  

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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